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Teaching & Learning

Our curriculum, assessment practices and educator development programs are continually being evaluated and refined.  As educators, we constantly strive to make our curriculum more effective, meaningful, and cohesive.

The Office of Teaching and Learning Department of oversees academic programming in English Language Arts & Literacy, Mathematics, Science, History & Social Sciences, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, World Language, and Health & Wellness. Additionally, we interface with the Office of Student Services to align academic supports within the core instructional program.

Department chairs, curriculum teacher teachers (CTLs), coaches, and administrators work throughout the year to ensure that planned lessons reflect Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, AP College Board Standards (as appropriate), and the content and skills that students are required to master in each grade level/course. What results is a living curriculum, one that is dynamic and responsive to the changing needs of students.  

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Guiding Principles for Teaching & Learning

The following guiding principles reflect the methodology employed by teachers across core academic content areas:

Learning must be student-centered,
Instruction should be evidence-based,
Teachers work as coaches or “facilitators” of student learning,
Inquiry leads to deeper learning for all,
Curriculum must have multiple access points, and
Learning is a collaborative, social process

Learning Must Be Student-Centered.  

In Dedham, we believe that deep learning must position the learner at the center of the classroom.  In order to accomplish this, teachers must have a deep understanding of how to analyze student assessments to make informed decisions about instruction and design learning targets for each individual student. 

Instruction Should Be Evidence-Based.  

In order for teachers to implement district curricula in service of helping students meet learning objectives, teachers must employ a broad-range of instructional strategies that are appropriate to the task at hand and also provide opportunities for all students to access the curriculum.  In content areas such as reading, for example, there is a body of research and knowledge that informs “best practices” for reading instruction. In this instance, teaching students how to read requires explicit and systematic instruction as learning science tells us that students acquire the ability to read on a developmental continuum.  

Teachers Work As Coaches Or “Facilitators” Of Student Learning.  

In order to prepare students for an “innovation” economy where students need to know how to be critical thinkers who can solve complex problems, think flexibly, and communicate effectively, it’s important that we teach students how to become independent learners.  In order to support students taking ownership of their own learning, teachers can act as a “guide on the side” or “facilitator” of student learning. This model of education, which posits the student at the center of the learning process, challenges more traditional views upon the relationship between teacher and student. 

Inquiry Leads To Deeper Learning For All.  

Inquiry remains especially critical to student learning in Science, Technology, and Engineering as well as History and the Social Sciences.  In these content areas, inquiry is central to how DPS students engage with district curriculum.  “The ability to develop focused research questions in history and social science or define the dimensions of a particular policy problem is central to learning in these disciplines” (MA Frameworks for History/Social Science, 2018) and, likewise, in the sciences “investigation, experimentation, design, and analytical problem solving are central to an effective science and technology/engineering program” (MA Science and Technology Engineering Framework, 2016).  

Curriculum Must Have Multiple Access Points.  

In order for students to access a culturally responsive curriculum that provides opportunities for voice and choice, teachers must provide students with multiple access points. Universal design for learning provides a framework by which teachers employ multiple strategies in order to provide students with opportunities for engagement, representation, action and expression.

Learning Is A Collaborative, Social Process.

Research resoundingly supports the notion that learning is a complex and dynamic social process. To that end, the Dedham Public Schools believes that students must have opportunities throughout the day to engage in high-quality social interactions with peers and adults.